Back-illuminated devices better for patients with reduced visual acuity, researchers find

   Daniel B. Roth, MD, of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., and colleagues evaluated the ability of electronic reading devices to enhance reading speed in patients with moderate vision loss.

   They assigned patients newspaper, print, and iPad versions of text with similar font size to read. They tested increased magnification and compared iPad and Kindle.

    Printed material was read more quickly than newspaper (P=0.02), but iPad was read more quickly than either newspaper or print (P  <0.001). Poor visual acuity was correlated with slower reading speed. Patients’ reading speed increased on the iPad when the font was magnified to 18 point (P <0.001). Further, the iPad 12-point text size resulted in improved reading speed when compared to the Kindle at 12 point and 18 point (P <0.001). 

  Dr. Roth and colleagues concluded that back-illuminated devices “may offer a significant advantage to patients with reduced visual acuity.”